Inspiration is the intangible force that makes one person jump up from bed, bright, cheery and ready to face the world while another guy barely lifts his head from the pillow before grumbling and pulling the covers back over head to catch another twenty winks.
For Kim Waters, his new album, I Want You - Love in the Spirit of Marvin draws on the inspiration Marvin Gaye, the late, great soul superstar whose songs include such classic soul jams as "After the Dance," "Let's Get It On," "Sexual Healing" and of course, "I Want You."
The musical legacy of Gaye is fertile territory for an adventuresome artist to explore. However, Waters makes the curious decision to actually cover only two Gaye tunes, "Distant Lover" and "I Want You," and what remains does not sound remotely similar to Marvin Gaye's music. Could this be because while Waters specializes in smooth, late night soundtracks for seduction, Gaye was always much more direct that sexual fulfillment was his end objective?
This difference in motivations explains in part why Waters fails in his objective to capture the essence of Gaye. Waters is all about romance and seduction. Gaye's music reveled in passion and the erotic. The conflicting motivations of the two artists undoes Waters and he doesn't seem to truly get what made Marvin Gaye who he was.
The high points are the first two tracks, "Groove With Me" and "I Want You," which actually do groove. The latter features a sweet and lilting vocal by Vivian Green nicely supported by Waters, allowing Green the showcase.
The rights to Gaye's music have been zealously protected by his estate and Motown records. In fact, there are two separate movies being made about Gaye's life, but only one has the rights to his pre-"Sexual Healing" hits. It makes one wonder if Waters was able to obtain permission to cover more than two Gaye songs.
Speculation aside, all that can be known is Kim Waters's ambitions for a Gaye inspired album fall short in the final result. It was a worthy goal for Waters to attempt to broaden the listening habits of smooth jazz fans to include Marvin Gaye, but he doesn't quite pull it off.
Groove With Me; I Want You; Take Me Away; Come With Me: Some Dreams Come True; Distant Lover; Let's Get On It; She's the One; Cosmic Love; Thank You; Smooth Sailing.
Kim Waters: unspecified instruments & saxophones; Rohn Lawrence: guitars; Chris Davis: unspecified instruments; Randy Bowland: guitar (6); Vivian Green: lead and background vocals (2); Timmy Maia: lead and background vocals (6,8); Kim Waters: background vocals: (10).